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Only The Dead Know by C.J Dunford
Daniel ‘Uneasy’ Truce – Mystery #1
Review copy
Synopsis:

After a traumatic military tour in the Middle East, Daniel “Uneasy” Truce returns home with PTSD. Something happened there. Something he never wants to come out.

A few hand shakes later, Truce lands a new job in a ragtag investigations unit. He may be emotionally awkward, but he’s got a knack for reading body language. Problem is, his boss hates him. Calls him mentally unsound. She gives Truce the dirty work. That’s how he ends up with “the crazy old bat” case.

At 11 a.m. every morning, June drops by her local police station to report a murder she witnessed. Initially the cops took her seriously. They visit the alleged victim’s home to find him very much alive. But June won’t give up, and her daily appearances become a nuisance. Truce is tasked to investigate. To shut her up. Soon June winds up dead-hit by a car. Was it really an accident? Truce thinks there’s more to the case. That maybe someone just doesn’t want the truth to come out …

Only the Dead Know is the first book in the Daniel ‘Uneasy’ Truce Mystery series.

My Review:

I am always intrigued by novels that feature military veterans. I am myself married to a veteran of 15yrs military service. I think even for myself, there is something fascinating about a protagonist who has been to war.

Daniel ‘uneasy’ Truce is an ex-military cop. He was orphaned at a young age and went from children’s home to military service. A situation not to unbelievable, if you’ve ever known any serving personnel. His only friend in the world is Leighton, who is what I’d call a sofa surfer. A close friend that hangs on Daniel’s every word, but actually contributes very little to the household.

Major Percival Bay managed to organise a role for Truce as a special advisor to combined special crimes task force – police Scotland. A role that is not what it seems. With a boos that hates him, he is often side-lined and given the uninteresting ‘crimes’. His boss Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose assigns him to the case of June Mills. An elderly lady who is reporting the same murder daily.
He is given specific instructions to ‘shut her up’.

‘You could talk to her: mental case to mental case’ – Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose

When Daniel meets June he actually really warms to her character. She assures him, she is not going senile. But when he digs a little deeper it would appear June is not lying. She leads a busy and happy lifestyle. She had met the victim previous to witnessing his alleged murder. The one problem is, the victim Davie Whiles, isn’t dead!

Despite their heart-to-heart and meeting of minds. When June fees she isn’t getting anywhere she goes to the press. Which brings a Lydia Rose sized storm upon Daniel.
Eventually Daniel relents and agrees to take June to the mortuary to ID any recent bodies. I wasn’t 100% this scene was very accurate.
But nevertheless, I ran with it. June ID’s no body.

‘There’s a mystery here. A mystery no one wants to solve. Yet everything about it is impossible’ – Truce

Days later Daniel spots a newspaper article, with a recent death of a woman that sounds a lot like June. The lady in question was knocked over and killed by a taxi driver. Daniel vows to investigate further.

‘There’s enough evil in this world without you making up more’ – Leighton

At June’s funeral, Daniel is introduced to her friends and learns more facts. Everything about June’s suicide contradicts itself. June’s death is a confusing case and nothing makes sense at all.

I did really enjoy the mystery element and found Daniel Truce a fantastic protagonist. There is a Q&A at the back of the novel which expands further upon his characters and themes. It is a brilliant addition and gives much food for thought. But obviously I cannot cover it within this review. There were elements I wasn’t so keen on, the police cast aside from Daniel were an array of stereotype cops. But it doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of this novel, as the main focus is mostly on Daniel.

Intriguing new addition to the crime fiction genre. 4*

CJD
C.J. Dunford
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